Suffering from tendonitis or chronic pain?
Ligaments are the “hinges” that hold bones to bones in joints while tendons connect muscles to bones. When your ligaments and tendons are injured, their healing is often slow and incomplete because their blood supply is limited. These injuries can be responsible for a considerable amount of pain.
What is Prolotherapy?
Prolotherapy is the injection of a proliferating agent into injured tendon or ligament attachment site (bone or joint), to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. Prolotherapy is also known as “nonsurgical ligament reconstruction.” The word “prolo” is short for proliferation – as prolotherapy treatment enhances the growth and formation of new ligaments, tendons, and cartilage in areas where there is weakness, laxity or excess scar tissue.
How Does It Work?
The initial reaction of treatment is localized inflammation triggering a wound healing cascade leading to increased blood supply and flow of nutrients and growth factors. This stimulates the tissue to repair itself by deposition of new collagen, the material that ligaments and tendons are made of. The new collagen then shrinks as it matures leading to ligament/tendon tightening and increased strength.
The injections can use a variety of substances, called proliferants, ranging from dextrose to fish oil derivatives to platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) to stem cells. The proliferant used depends in part on the location and tissue being treated to physician preference. Most injections also use procaine, an anesthetic which provides immediate pain relief.
The response to treatment varies with each patient and the extent of trauma to the ligament, tendon or cartilage, as well as individual rates of healing.
Most patients need an average of 3-6 treatments per area with proper nutrition and rests between visits. Others may require 6-10 treatments, depending on the extent of their injuries. Once treatment begins, we can better assess how you are responding.
Wound strength studies show that it takes 6-12 months for maximum tensile strength to occur without prolotherapy resulting in only 60% of the original strength. Following the recommended prolotherapy treatment healing can occur in 1-2 months. The ligament and tendon tissue which forms as a result of Prolotherapy is thicker and stronger than normal tissue – up to 40% stronger in some cases.
Prolotherapy is not a form of steroid injections. Steroids produce temporary pain relief and inhibit inflammation (the body’s natural healing mechanism). In the long run, steroids cause tissue degeneration and multiple adverse effects. Prolotherapy does just the opposite with minimal side effects.
Conditions that may benefit from Prolotherapy:
- muscle tears and partial tears
- ligament injuries such as strains, sprains
- shoulder instability – dislocations/separations
- elbow overuse injuries such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow
- chronic low back pain
- hip pain
- foot problems such as plantar fasciitis
Talk with Dr. Sara Kinnon at her West Vancouver Naturopath Clinic about whether or not the treatment is suitable for you.